So many of you have asked about how I came to be so close to God. I want to talk a little about that here, and I hope that it speaks to you and encourages you to seek His face. Before I start, I want to say that if you are not a “believer,” you are welcome here. I hope you read these words and feel blessed, even if you and I do not share the same Lord. Your letters and emails have spoken volumes to me about the legacy of my sweet daughter, and I hope you will continue to spend time here with me. My deepest prayer is that you will feel safe here, and that if you do have questions about the Lord, you will email me and allow me the great honor of trying to fill in some of the blanks with you. With that said…
Where do I start?
I always loved the idea of God, but He just didn’t seem practical, and for most of my life, “not practical” meant “not necessary.” I put my full weight into what I could see and touch, and I found out the hard way that this life let me down (several times). I tried to read the Bible, but it just seemed huge and totally foreign to me. I felt like it had nothing to do with my life. I decided to read it the whole way through before I made up my mind, but I only got a few chapters into Genesis and I decided it was less fun than trigonometry (I did eventually make it the whole way through and it was incredible). I hosted “Young Life” in my basement in high school, but truth be told, it was because there were some really cute Christian boys who I wanted to notice me (it didn’t work…turns out they were really coming over for Jesus). I used to sit on my bed and say “Show me you’re real!” to God and then let my Bible fall open, pointing my finger randomly at the page, positive He was going to give me a scripture that would answer all of my nagging questions (come on, you know you’ve done this too….). He taught me 2 great lessons in my “Bible-pointing” days.
1. I can’t put God in a box, and I cannot expect Him to show up on my timetable.
2. I pretty much always end up somewhere in 1st or 2nd Chronicles, wondering why God loves the word “begat” so much.
Years ago, I sat down with my Bible and I asked the Lord to speak. Unlike the other times, I wasn’t “testing” Him, I was just wanting to feel His presence with me. I didn’t do it because I wanted Him to prove anything, but rather because I was hungry for Him. He led me to two stories within a matter of days, the first being the story of the Lord calling Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-21). It is still one of my favorites, and includes what was, for me, the key that begins to turn the door of faith. “Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening.” It has become a mantra of sorts to me and I repeat it over and over as I go about my daily life. I realized that God had created me to be in communication with Him, He wanted me to invite Him into to corners of my life that seemed too small for Him to fit into. I began to listen, and I invited him to speak.
The other story is in the Gospel of Luke, where two people are traveling the road to Emmaus. I decided I was going to read it over and over again, slowly digesting the words and asking God to reveal Himself to me. I did a little word study and found that the word Emmaus means “warm springs,” and that these springs were frequently used for healing purposes. So I began to picture two people walking toward “healing” instead of a place I had never heard of. If you have a Bible, it is found in Luke 24:13-32. If you don’t have a Bible, and would like to, please email me and I will send you one. Here is the gist of the story…
Three days after Christ was crucified, two of His disciples are walking to Emmaus, and they are saddened because they don’t feel convinced that He is risen, nor that He was really the Christ at all. They are discussing this when a man (Christ) “catches up” to them. The word used is the Greek word “eggizo” which means “to draw near, approach.” One commentary I read explained that they must have been walking slowly enough for Him to catch up. I like that.
They didn’t know who He was. They told Him all about their disappointment, sharing that they had believed that Jesus was the promised One, but now they doubted. There was no evidence.
There they are, walking with the living Christ, and they have no idea who He is. They are looking past His face and into the abyss that demands proof. They see his sandals, his hair, his eyes, his robe, but they do not see Him. They continue to walk side by side for miles as He speaks to them, reminding them of everything from Moses to the Prophets, but they do not know their Shepherd.
Finally, they reach their destination. Jesus acts as if He is going to continue on, and they beg Him to stay for supper. They long to be in His company so they invite Him to be their guest.
As they sit around the table, the Lord takes the bread and says a prayer. Scripture then says:
“…he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him…”
He disappears from their sight immediately and they ask each other, “were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” It all made sense now…He was the great Rescuer.
As soon as they recognize this, they travel to Jerusalem to share their news. We have seen Him!!! He is risen!!!
I realized that in this beautiful story, God had posed a very important question to me, and He may be asking you the same.
Where are you on the road to Emmaus?
I thought about the way that I had finally slowed down enough to let Him catch up to me, the way I walked for years beside Him and never really knew who He was. Then I thought about the way I was drawn to Him, and invited Him to stay with me. And then, the bread was broken, and I saw Him for who He was.
And just as the disciples said, I remembered the way my heart had burned for Him, even before my eyes were opened. I love the Greek word in this scripture. It is “kaio,” and it means, “to set on fire, to be consumed…“
It all became really simple to me, and it helped me understand the walk of the believer in a tangible way. As you travel,
1. walk slowly, deliberately with thoughts of Him on your mind (He will catch up).
2. listen when He speaks (you will want to be with Him longer).
3. invite Him to stay (He will accept).
4. acknowledge who He is when He reveals Himself to you (You are Jesus Christ, the son of God. You were crucified, and paid the full penalty of my sin. You died on the cross and were resurrected on the third day. You are now in heaven, where I will spend eternity with you). For those of you who are looking for the fancy Christian words, this step is what we call “being saved.”
5. allow yourself to be consumed with love for Him (you will want to go and tell the others).
I hope this encourages you to open your Bible and ask the Lord to reveal Himself in His words. To make it come alive for you as you read. Before you begin, say a prayer asking Him to “slow you down, ” and help you focus on the words. Sometimes I just read the same sentence over and over until I feel like I am ready to move on to the next. I had to get past my “speed-reader” tendencies and see Scripture for what it was…God’s letter of love to us, His workmanship.
I realize that this does not answer all of the questions you have asked about how I came to be where I am with the Lord, but it is a first step. It is my prayer that before I continue, you will open His word and be blessed by the God who loves you enough to walk alongside you and cause your heart to burn within you.
Have a blessed Sunday. If you have never believed in Him before, I am praying that today is the day of broken bread.
Speak, Lord. Your servants are listening…
p.s…..here we are at the Hope Clinic on Friday with Renee and Lauren, giving them the check!!!! Thank you Tippa!!!! May God do amazing things with your faith:)
pps. Okay, i know this is completely random, but I have gotten a couple e-mails about my last post…for clarification, if you are doing the math on when we got married and when we conceived our first baby, I will save you the mental energy. We did not have sex until we were married. Sorry to be so blunt, and I’m sure this is more information than you need, but you know me-I say it like it is:)